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Animal Use in Award-Winning TV Commercials in China versus the U.S.

By Lingling Xiang, Marilyn Roberts (adviser)

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Humans and animals have a long relationship. Through content analysis of randomly selected 184 advertisements of award-winning TV commercials containing animals from the 5th to 12th China Advertising Festival (1997-2005) and U.S EFFIE award-winning TV commercials containing animals during the same period, this study compared the usage and executional elements of animals in TV commercials between China and the United States, examined the differences in human-animal relationships reflected in TV commercials from both countries, and explored the cultural values behind such differences. This was accomplished by adopting a variable-analysis framework of animal television commercials developed by American scholars Lerner and Kalof (1999) and the executional factor framework by Steward and Furse (1986). A quantitative content analysis was applied to achieve the results by coding 184 TV commercials on 23 variables. These are award year, brand origin, product/service category, commercial appeal/selling proposition, commercial approach, commercial setting, commercial tone/atmosphere, commercial format, commercial approach, commercial setting, and animal species, human-animal relationship, roles animal played in commercials, as well as animals depicted individually or in a group. Chi-square test and crosstabulations were conducted to explore the significant differences between these variables. Findings suggest that four out of five hypotheses were supported. Chinese award-winning commercials containing animals are different from American commercials by the award year, brand origin, products/service category, as well as commercial format, commercial structure, and commercial approach, the presence of a child or infant, animal species, the roles of animals played, and the way of animals appeared in Chinese and U.S. commercials. Hofstede's cultural dimensions and Hall's degree of context were used to explain the findings. Based on the current study, a profile of presence and executional usage of animals in a typical award-winning commercial containing animal(s) in both countries respectively is offered.


Katie Carroll

Date 2008
Publisher University of Florida
Location of Publication Gainesville, Florida
Degree Master's
Language English
University University of Florida
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Advertising
  2. Animals in culture
  3. China
  4. Commerce
  5. Human-animal relationships
  6. Media
  7. Television
  8. United States of America